Judging by the cloture vote yesterday, which was similar to last year's final 62-36 Senate vote on S.2611, the liberal strategy is to get past the chance of a conservative filibuster, then use their domination of both houses of Congress to amend the bill to their heart's content and dare President Bush to veto it, depriving himself of his beloved legacy. Liberals like Nancy Pelosi are up in arms over S.1348's measures trying to cut down on chain migration of extended families.
They may well succeed by playing a mindless "family values" card, since American public discourse is so naive on the subject, almost never distinguishing between nuclear family values (American) and extended family values (foreign).
Surprisingly, the NYT, which normally prints the most mindless letters to the editor, ran an incisive one today:
To the Editor:
Family reunification is the single largest source of legal immigration to the United States and should be limited to spouses and minor children only for several reasons.
First, many immigrants bring in aged parents, at first promising to support them, and then later renege on their promises and place their aged parents, who never worked a day in the United States, on Social Security disability and other social services.
Second, by bringing in a sibling or an adult child, the sponsoring immigrant sets off chain migration, beginning with the sponsored immigrant’s immediate family. His spouse can then eventually bring in her parents and siblings, thus lengthening the chain.
Some of these siblings or children may have been brought in to work in small family businesses. Since these family members are dependent upon the good will of their sponsors, it is unlikely that they will complain about hours, wages and working conditions and may accept a room in the sponsor’s house as part of pay, adding to overcrowded housing.
Finally, by family reunification we are allowing people who have been in the United States for a relatively short amount of time and who may hold citizenship in their country of origin as well as the United States to have more say about whom we allow into this country than people whose ancestors fought and died in our wars, survived our tough economic times, built the United States into the world power that it is today, paid taxes for generations, and who owe allegiance to the United States alone. Is this wise?
Blacksburg, Va., May 20, 2007
If you look at immigration policy from the standpoint of who optimizing who my descendents will marry, of improving the potential spouse pool for your children and grandchildren, what you want to see are A) high quality immigrants (smart, hard-working, law-abiding, well-educated) and B) single (not part of endogamous ethnic groups that won't let their scions marry into your family). This implies that we would want most immigrants to be young, single, well-educated, good earners, and not part of chain migrations. But, don't expect to see that logic explained anywhere.